After my first Stukent simulation walkthrough received so many positive reviews, I figured it was time to do another one! You can watch the Stukent Mimic Intro simulation on YouTube or visit Stukent’s website to learn more about the product. Here is my walkthrough of the Stukent Mimic Social simulation, which is also currently going through a revamp.
I’ll be sure to post a video walking through the new edition in the coming weeks, but for now here is the original, excellent simulation! And just to clarify, I am NOT getting paid for this walkthrough, nor did I have anything to do with the simulation’s creation! I DID, however, consult on the content marketing walkthrough, which I will create a video for a little later.
Stukent Mimic Social Walkthrough Video
Transcript: Stukent Mimic Social
Hello and welcome to another Stukent simulation walkthrough! Today, we are going to be going through the Stukent Mimic Social simulation, and that is a simulation that is typically paired with social media textbooks, and specifically for social media courses. Just going to go right into the screen share today.
I’m here at the Stukent products page where we’ll start. Again, this is a walkthrough more for professors, lecturers, administrators, and anybody who is considering utilizing this for their course. Students who are checking this out, you’re obviously welcome to check this as well. It’s just going to be a pretty basic walkthrough. And I would say most of this time is going to be spent talking about the mechanics of the simulation and how to better integrate it into a course syllabus, specifically those that deal with social media and digital marketing introductions.
How I’ve used Stukent Mimic Social in my social media courses
So to start, I’m actually going to share a little bit of kind of how I’ve used this in the past. Right now, even since I started teaching this simulation, there’ve been a ton of new books that Stukent has published, including my own on content marketing. I actually think this is one of the better simulations on social media. This utilizes both paid and organic social, and you can include it in all sorts of different classes.
I have only used this for social media classes so far, but I will be integrating it for my introduction to digital marketing course in the fall. And I’m considering implementing this into a content marketing course, but I also have the content marketing simulation that I’m doing, so I don’t want to overload students. I definitely would not recommend more than one simulation per course, just because it is just fairly time-consuming. It’s something there that is difficult to rationalize having students do more than the work that’s required in the simulation in addition to studying for an exam or doing any other sort of final project.
This is my sample syllabus. I remember originally I did have it set up where every single week I would outline which round was due. And when I first did that, I realized that that was kind of hard, because some students (edit: a lot of students), prefer to procrastinate. While I try to avoid that, I realized after this first time that it only really be a recommendation that I make, and I wasn’t going to grade them on every individual round. I was just going to grade them on their total results.
So, what I did here is I set up the Stukent Mimic Social simulation to be due really the last week of class before we had a study day at our school, and that always seems to fall on the day that I have class. And then there are the final presentations, which are for a final project, not related to Stukent Mimic Social. (this is an 11-week course) I would introduce the simulation right after the midterm exam. I would tell students, “Okay, I recommend doing two to three rounds a week,” with the idea that you’re going to be completing this “with about two weeks to go in the course.” I gave them a starting date where they were able to access it, and after that, they would be ready to go.
The reason I didn’t open it earlier in the semester, or let students do it from the beginning, is really because I wanted to get through a couple of key topics and I didn’t want them to go so far ahead and then come back to me and say, “Hey, I didn’t have a chance to actually learn this. I thought I could just do this on my own.”
Another consideration here is that this syllabus is for an MBA-level course. I’ve also used the Stukent Mimic Social simulation for an undergrad course, and I do recommend going week-by-week with due dates per round for that one. Students in the undergrad course don’t usually know what they’re getting themselves into. Most of them have not run social media for a brand in the past. And most undergrad students haven’t actually run a Facebook page – even one for themselves, and that’s a big part of this simulation. So just make sure to integrate that walkthrough yourself, as a professor in the course.
Pairing a textbook with Stukent Mimic Social
I’ve only used two books to go with this right now, and those are The Essentials of Social Media Marketing by Michelle Charello, and Social Media Marketing: Principles and Strategies by Stephen and Bart. The latter is a little bit more academic and more conceptual. There are a lot more overviews of different marketing principles: the “consumer to a company, company to consumer information flow,” for example, is there. You also have different types of media: owned, earned, paid, and other principles like those.
On the other hand, Charello’s text is a little bit more practical. It just deals more with everyday situations. For example, there’s an individual chapter for each big social network, and it deals with marketing principles like SMART goals in an application setting. It also lays out the timeline of a social media strategy. Honestly, the two of them together do pretty well.
But for a third option, I’m using my content marketing strategies textbook for my current class. The only difference is that my content marketing courseware is based around the development of actual content, whereas those other two textbooks are really more focused on social media strategy and the principles that go with them. So there are some key differences. It really depends on what the core themes of your course are. If I had to pick one for a strictly social media course to pair with this simulation, it would be Social Media Marketing from Stephen and Bart.
Digging into the simulation
Let’s go ahead and dig into the simulation itself. I’m going to be going in through the student view. There are 10 rounds. It starts with the executive summary of the Buhi Supply Company. It’s important to remind students that this is a B2C situation, not a B2B, specifically. With B2C, this means that they’re going to be creating content. They need to understand that they’re going to be creating content on social media that needs to be both value-driving and self-promotional.
I’ve done this simulation myself, I think now three times, and each time I’ve tried it a little bit differently. And whenever I do it myself, I’ve tried a lot of different variables to just see what works with the algorithm. It does a really good job of looking for content that will drive value. If you don’t do that, and all of your content is just strictly self-promotional, you’re not going to get results. If there is one key takeaway for students as they go into this, it’s that they need to read all of the introductory “stuff.” They need to read the executive summary. They need to read the weekly memos, and they need to really read the details about their products, their markets, and their budget. Otherwise, they are setting themselves up for failure.
How many posts and budget to allocate each round
So you have a weekly budget of $5,000. You’re supposed to spend all of that. And they give you a lot of tips and tricks going through this, to be perfectly honest. There’s really nothing left to the imagination here. It’s pretty straightforward. And the only thing that isn’t outlined particularly well here, which is on purpose, is that they don’t tell you the proper content mix between paid and organic social media.
I also would recommend telling students that they allocate a lot of time to creating the actual content and that just creating one value-driving post and one paid post per week is not going to get them the results they want. And it’s not going to get them an A on the assignment. From what I’ve seen, while there is a variance in the number of posts that students can create, I noticed that anytime a student created less than 10 posts per week, they did not do well. On the other end, if you do 500 posts a week, that’s, there’s not a big difference in outcome between 500 posts and say 50 posts. I don’t know if there’s a sweet spot. For me, the single best round I ever ran was one where I think I did a total of 20 posts, and five of those were paid. Consider telling students up front a range of posts to create.
Walking through the products and audiences with students
Go through the products, making sure that you (and if you’re a student) understand what these products are. Think not only about what the costs are because there is more of a traditional business and accounting aspect of this: How much are you spending and how much are you bringing in? But look at the products, and understand the market as well.
I feel as if this (the audience) is just a mix and match game, where you need to mix and match the proper audiences that you’re targeting, the proper products that you’re promoting, and the proper channels where you are actually publishing your posts. Oh, and also the content of the posts, too. There’s a lot going on. Understanding all seven of these personas is really important.
There are no specific science and math equations that you can do to figure out where you would say, “Okay, Seaside Sally wants a bag for the beach. Her income is between $20 and $30,000, but when I look at the bags, you know, I want to give her a travel bag, but it’s a little expensive. So maybe I’ll just go for the tote or the pouch, cause they’re cheaper.”
You’re generally looking at the values of what can this audience afford. What are they actually looking to spend? What I would not recommend doing is saying, “okay, you know, she spends X, what do I do if I promote the travel bags, and actually create these numeric formulas to try and predict how much you’re going to get out of this?” That’s what data analysts are for and these forecasters are for. That’s not the point of Stukent Mimic Social.
This simulation is strictly about learning how to:
- create content
- promote content
- properly target it to the right audience
- properly allocate funds
- understand the products that you are selling and promoting
- and being able to look at analytics between each round, seeing what worked, and what didn’t work, and updating as you go.
Analytics is a good area too because you can see the background about what all of the social media accounts have. I obviously recommend looking at this. You don’t want the number of page likes, for example, to dictate how much content you’re putting out there. I would instead make sure that your age group and your gender ratio are matching with the market that you’re going after. So, Back-to-School Mindy is between 18 and 26 and female. And if we go back to the analytics for the social media, and you say, “Okay, 18 to 50 years old, more than 50% female,” that works.
It’s also not one audience or one persona per social network. Most of them are going to fit within the Facebook one, for example. There are some fundamental differences, and you need to look at all of these different social network accounts to really understand. For example, you probably don’t want to bother targeting Pinterest to any of the male groups. Now, in recent years, that’s changed. There are some data that came out last year in the mid-pandemic that the number of men using Pinterest has actually grown by 50%. That’s great, but again, this simulation was built a couple of years ago. It is not supposed to actually show you what would happen today.
And then, the other thing on the analytics is making sure that you look at the ideal number of posts. I mean, you don’t need to post on Pinterest 27 times per day. That’s a lot of content. I never posted more than once on Pinterest per day. Having said that, I will say upfront, Pinterest is a pretty high converting social network in this simulation, just to give you a little tidbit. Meanwhile, you have things like LinkedIn. Again, you should never post more than once. And it’s hard to sell that. With YouTube, you know that they’re all videos, so one to three, okay. There’s a nice broad range there, but it’s important to know ahead of time.
Before you go and create your posts, you need to look at these social media summary analytics for sure. Then you have your budget. That’s just an overview of how you’re supposed to be spending your money. Pretty basic. It is important to understand that there is a budget for a product, and for promotion and product. There is a difference there. It’s not $5,000 on actual social media ads. When I would break down the budget, I usually would allocate probably 60% to promotion normally. Sometimes, it would go up to as much as 80%, but it also depended on how many videos I was doing. Videos are a big money suck in this simulation – just like real-life.
Breaking down each individual round
Each week, there’s going to be a weekly memo. It’s important to look at that and follow the direction of what is provided there. That is really going to be important because they are going to adequately direct you to success. Then you have the posts. I already had created a couple. So this is intended to be your Buhi social media aggregator. It looks similar to maybe something you’d see on Hootsuite or Sprout, a little bit different, but it has all of the same basic things.
You first select where you’re posting. From there, do you want to promote, yes or no? And then you’re done. And then when you go over to Buhi, into this post, you would actually create the content. So say I wanted to write something, maybe not even an overly promotional post. I’m just going to do a value-driving post. I love seeing our backpacks out in the – I’m just making this up – wilderness. And then you see, okay, there’s an option to add a photo, or actually any type of attachment. The thing here is that there’s a lot of stuff here. Some of them have costs. If you want to create an infographic, sure, it costs about a hundred bucks. If you want to do, this video, it requires $3,000.
So you see that the price can get high quickly, but then there’s also $3 photos or $100 photos. Not that crazy. I also would strongly recommend looking at things in their categories. They have different folders. I just wanted to take a picture of the wilderness. So I’m going to look at pictures. Let me see if I can find the wilderness. So we’ll do that one. It’s free. maybe you want to post this onto Instagram first. No, I don’t want to take that off of Facebook. No, that’s another key thing. And maybe that’s all I want to do for that one. They do provide ideal times to post content, but to be perfectly honest, I haven’t seen a big difference in that. The important thing is just not to be posting everything at once. If you schedule it so that everything goes at the exact same time and the exact same day, obviously you’re not going to do so hot. It’s more about spreading out the content over the course of the week.
Maybe I want to go and I want to post it on Thursday, the 19th at noon. Great, go ahead and schedule it. I already had one scheduled for Monday at noon, and that was it. Then if you want to promote one, I will go over one that actually gets promoted here. We’ll say we’re having a flash sale perhaps. 50 percent off. I don’t want to actually put the discount in there, because I want to start with the graphic. And sometimes you do want to start. I would actually recommend telling students to start with the graphic if they’re going to have one in a post. To start with the media, you know? I would recommend spending very little time on text-only posts, very little time, maybe once a week. And when that happens, it needs to be really something powerful. It cannot be anything that could it have media go with it. Right, we’ll just go into the 20% off thing, flash sale 20, because you want to be consistent here too. Stukent Mimic Social will know if you say 40% and the graphic says 20. That’s just the normal consistency at work.
You can look at the students’ results and consistent messaging across content is pivotal. 20% off the entire store. Today only. Again, I might do these differently, but I’m just doing this in the interest of time. You can change your time. Maybe do it then. And when I schedule this, I have to, you’ll notice it won’t let you schedule it without picking one. Say I want to go to Facebook. Now, a couple of other things to notice. One thing I have not seen a difference in is the actual image versus the group that I’m promoting it to. So right now, you know, if I go back to the people here, and I look at the market and I say, okay, I want to promote something. I want to promote something to our most wealthy audience, and I think that’s Hipster Mommy or Daypacker Tom, or it might be. Up and Comer Raj.
Sticking with Hipster Mommy, she’s only 5% of the market, 32 to 45, but she’s got some nice income, female, you know, those are her interests (listed). You’re essentially going to be matching these up. I would recommend having a separate tab open with the specific audience that you’re going for because if you’re all over the place with your targeting, it’s not going to work well.
You have your eight. You have all this stuff, you go back to the posts. I want to make sure that I’m promoting this on the right channel, but I also wanted to go after a guy, because that was a guy wearing a backpack and it looks cool. So maybe I want to go with Daypacker Tom instead. 18 to 26, male. Okay, he wants a multipurpose bag. He’s very specific. We could promote a multipurpose bag and it would probably do a little bit better. But again, this is just for example. Go back to the post. For now, we’ll say Instagram, and I do want to promote, and then you essentially will want to make it so that the pages are exactly the same.
Then you can add in all of the same interests. I just went in and essentially copied exactly the interests. Like I made this so that the new audience was exactly the group that I was going for. And I actually created one for Up and Comer Raj already. Say I want to throw that in then. Now that might not be the best match, but I just want to do it, again in the interest of time. I’ve done that. And now if you remember, one other thing that you need to do is make sure that you had selected a budget, and that it’s the other thing that goes into this.
I had selected a budget of $500. And so that’s not that much. The good thing too about this is when you schedule it, it’s not going to run. All of your posts that you schedule for the week are going to be listed here, but then you’re ready to go. It’ll run the simulation, and you go look at the estimated spend, and you have funds available. Yes, I have lots of funds left. I get it, I’m supposed to spend it all. Then you run it.
The analysis rounds
The other thing to keep in mind is that every other round is an analysis round. So you’re going to look through, and they’ll (Buhi) ask you to answer these questions. I have never actually used the answers to these questions to give them a grade. It’s great for the weekly review, where you could say, one week you have to actually do the round, and maybe that’s a pass/fail. In the second week, you need to do the analysis and do the responses to the questions. That could be points based on responses to these. The only challenge is that sometimes it can be time-consuming.
Back to the walkthrough, look at the post analytics and see what worked: Facebook, nothing, because you didn’t do anything. Here’s your Instagram performance, okay. Man, a lot of followers, made some revenue, 204 conversions, great, right? There’s all your data. This is how the breakdown is by posts, again, very similar to actual Instagram. To me, I really like the analysis here. Stukent does a great job of providing all of this data for you.
The only difference is that, honestly, most companies aren’t this sophisticated, where it can be hard to match up your revenue. Now obviously with a larger B2C eCommerce brand, you’re going to be able to tie that revenue together. But I have always found it really fascinating that you can immediately see the revenue. I personally have plenty of clients who have this setup, but I would say 80% of them do not. You can look at where you are in the course, and you know, 38 out of 38, because all my other students already did it.
How long does the Stukent Mimic Social simulation actually take?
After that, the round’s over, and I believe it makes you submit these answers before you can go on to the next round. So, yeah, I mean that’s it for the walkthrough. Again you just saw me spend a couple of minutes creating just a couple of posts. And if students asked, “Hey, how long does this simulation take? How long does each week take?” The way I answer it is it’s as much as you put into it.
I wouldn’t recommend anything under an hour. If you spend one hour putting together posts, reading all the content, and understanding what’s going on, that’s going to get you probably less than 10 posts. And the good thing is with each post, it takes a little bit less time than the one before, so it’s not like it’s going to be 10 posts an hour, meaning 10 hours equals a hundred posts. You can get it down to a science in terms of the actual building of posts, and I think the most I’ve ever created in a single week was what, 50? I think I said 50 to 60. And I knew what I was doing because it was my second time through, and I think it took a total of two and a half hours.
So it’s not a big deal. It’s not that time-consuming for students, but it is important that they know that it’s going to be something where they can’t just cruise through, publish a couple of posts, and be done. They’re going to be in for a rude awakening. Considering all the students are essentially ranked against each other, the people that put in the most time and energy and who actually understand how to match up the audiences with the platforms and the products and the creatives, those are going to be the ones that do the best.
Grading the simulation
The way I broke down the results is that I set a floor of 80%. So as long as you complete all 10 rounds of Stukent Mimic Social, you were at least going to get a B-, and then I segmented the results of actual, the way I had to do some of my own weighted averages. The good thing about this is that, and I won’t go into this right now, is that you can actually look at the responses, and you can download a grading spreadsheet, which I do recommend checking out. But if you look at the course rankings, and again, this is as a student, so you see who’s who. You don’t see names. You know this is me, ’cause I just did two posts. But you look at the differences here, right? In the rankings, I personally weighted a couple of these differently. They rank these, and Stukent ranks these based on a variety of factors.
I think the final number is simply revenue. That being the number one. But in my course, I do a lot of talking about B2B and the value of value-generating content. And so for me, I would weigh the revenue pretty highly, but it’s not the only thing. I think it was like 60%, but then I also would include:
- impressions: 10%.
- engagements: 15%,
- a few others factors: 15%
There’s something to be said for getting a ton of impressions. I had a student that just delivered a ton of impressions. Maybe it wasn’t this course. It was another course, where they had like 20,000 impressions, and I looked and they did twice as many posts as everybody else. I wasn’t going to give them a failing grade, or even a B because of that, because they didn’t realize how, you know, the fact that they posted so much that it eventually got to be just kind of repetitive. And yeah, you need to know that in your career. I talked through that in my Stukent Mimic Social recap lecture, but I’m not going to knock somebody for spending way more time and effort on that.
It really depended on what their weighted average score turned out to be, and then I just grouped them into clusters and assigned grades based on that. It was completely numerical. If you finish with a rank of 10, that doesn’t mean you’re going to be, or whatever the halfway point is. Say there’s 38 of us. If you finish 19th, that doesn’t mean you’re getting a 50%. That also doesn’t mean you’re getting a 75% or even an 80%. It really depends on how close all of you are together. I am going to weigh these different things. And I told them what the weights were going to be ahead of time too so that they knew.
For me, it was just of the utmost importance that they understood each round. Your rank is not the be-all, end all about this, and as long as you do all the rounds – even if you finish last – you’re not going to fail. I don’t know why they don’t have five stars and as much customer satisfaction. They might be poorly written posts, but they’re still bringing in some revenue. It’s not for a lack of trying that they finished last.
So that’s about it. You know, I don’t want to take any more time. I’ve been talking about this for a while. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me, and I can share some details on how best to address the creative side. Best of luck!